By Matt Wiggins, VetFran Fellow
Last month, VetFran sat down with Congressmen Phil Roe and Dave Brat, strong supporters in Congress of VetFran’s mission. The occasion was a town hall event outside of Richmond in Congressman Brat’s 7th District of Virginia. The event was well attended and hosted a lively and engaged audience. Constituents gathered to discuss veteran’s issues, like healthcare and economic opportunity. Roe and Brat agreed about the vital role that veterans play in both Virginia and the nation as a whole.
Congressman Roe is the Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee and sat down privately with VetFran to explain what he’s done on the VA Committee to help veterans. “Coming from a small business background I know what it’s like to work for myself, and I know that the last person who gets paid is the person who owns the business – everything else gets paid first,” said Roe. “I didn’t realize when I first got to congress how much of an impression that had made on me – working for yourself.” His legislative record demonstrates his progress. “We have passed this congress 70 bills out of committee, 26 have been signed into law. These are major pieces of legislation,” he added.
Roe sees the big picture on veteran’s issues as well, working to tackle some difficult mental health issues. “Next year I’m focusing on veterans’ suicide. We’ve put $8 Billion into this and the suicide rate is unchanged, so I want to look at that.” He feels the same way about homelessness among veterans, saying, “we’ve spent $7 billion on veterans’ homelessness and that’s not going down. Where is the money going? We’re going to look at opioid addiction, and we’re going to look at Electronic Health Records.” In terms of the Veterans Entrepreneurs Act, VetFran’s sponsored legislation piece, Roe called it “hugely important,” and has been a great supporter of its journey through congress.
Congressman Brat echoed a similar sentiment when he spoke with VetFran. “Veterans put up the ultimate sacrifice. Thanking veterans, rewarding them, keeping our promises to them is key,” said Brat. He isn’t just making promises either, he’s keeping them. “I sponsored HR 2135 – a bi-partisan bill that waives the SBA loan program fee,” said Brat, “[I’m] always in favor of every program that gets our veterans in the pipeline, and I signed on to the Veterans Small Business Act.”
When asked about the big picture for veterans going forward, Brat commented, “the best thing we can do for everybody is keep the economy running. Help veterans and our communities get jobs. Tax cuts and jobs act to keep the economy roaring.”
We agree with the congressmen, veterans benefit from a strong and dynamic economy. Thanks to the work of Congressmen Brat, Roe, and their peers, now is a great time for veterans to get involved in franchising and find their own business opportunities. For more information on how you can get started with franchising and to see the discounts available to veterans, please visit vetfran.com.